I attended a party hosted by one of my university
English professors. The party was timid. Everyone
in a house full of friendless people. Soon, I see
my professor is flirting on my date. I am across the patio
talking to a stoned lonely classmate near the nacho
salsa station, and my prof, swinging jigging away,
making my date giggle, smile, move, bob and sway.
The world is glorious and cruel. Full of voids
impossible to fill and so hard to ignore.
My professor was working hard to diminish
his middle-age pansa: running his hand through his hair,
leaning forward, holding that cigarette but not lighting it.
Does this really work? When does his ex step in? And I wonder
if this is me in twenty years. Drifting to bad jazz, citing Derrida,
considering busted summers in Prague, then back to all this,
hosting a house of students and colleagues
without anyone causing a lucha, because no one thinks anything
is worth throwing a punch. Nada happens.
I had this friend who launched off a table
in a crowded bar because he saw his novia
dancing with a gringo. Did my friend think she really
had a Sancho? (Remember this: action is often a good
remedy for grief). He flew into the dancers,
a super-villain returning to earth. His cape a flash
of cursing. A big fight, the boogying couples scattering
off the dancefloor. After the incident, and him
banished from the club, I spied him and la novia, seated
on a curb in the parking lot. She cupping his face
in tenderness insisting, she loved him, loved
him. Chanting it. The night sky believing all
of her. My friend looking down into the alley,
discovering his bruises, adjusting his ripped
camisa, her words all shadow and dusk.
Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith was born in Merida, Yucatan, grew up in Tucson, Arizona and taught English at Tucson High School for 27 years. Much of his work explores growing up near the border, being raised biracial/bilingual, and teaching in a large urban school where 70% of the students are American/Mexican. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, his writings will appear in Drunk Monkeys, Inverted Syntax and have been published in Sky Island Journal, Muse, Discretionary Love and other places too. His wife, Kelly, sometimes edits his work, and the two cats seem happy.